Last year, trucks hauled more than 70 percent of all freight. Household groceries, raw materials for factories, and even cars have likely spent time on a truck driven by one of the millions of people working in the transportation industry.
While more than 7.4 million people work in the trucking industry, just 31 percent are women. Despite the underrepresentation, the impact women have on trucking is significant which is helping the number of women interested in trucking-related careers grow.
Two women blazing trails in the trucking industry, Raquel Renda and “Killer” Bramer, shared their stories in “Breaking the Mold,” the fourth episode of Mack Trucks’ RoadLife docu-series.
“I never thought my life would be with trucks,” said Renda, Vice President of the Texas-based Renda Environmental, a wastewater residuals management company. “But I fell into it here in Texas, and I’ve been in love with it ever since.”
Renda Environmental uses its Mack trucks to haul raw materials and finished product to and from its 24/7 processing operations. To keep everything running smoothly, Renda starts her day around 4 a.m. each morning, addressing whatever urgent issues might pop up. Instead of trying to fit the mold created by men in leadership positions, she has spent her career successfully applying her own style of running the business.
“Gender shouldn’t matter,” Renda said. “It’s all about the integrity of the work being done and the integrity of the person doing it.”
Professional truck driver “Killer” Bramer took a different path to success in the industry by following her dreams beginning at an early age. After graduating as the top student – and only female – in her driving school class, she bought a truck and spent the next three years learning the ins and outs of the road. She also spent several years driving on tour with folk singer-songwriter Arlo Guthrie, who gave her the nickname “Killer.”
“When I was driving and tour managing, a typical day would usually include someone asking, ‘Where’s Killer?’,” Bramer said. “When I’d tell them I’m Killer, they’d say, ‘No seriously, where’s Killer?’ expecting to see a man.”
These days, far from the bright lights of the stage, Killer spends her time piloting big rigs to and from trucking tradeshows and other special events. Most recently, she’s crisscrossed the continent on the Mack Anthem Live tour, showcasing Mack’s new Anthem highway model to customers at dealerships across the country.
Despite being on the road more than 300 days each year, as well as facing the challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated industry, professional truck driving is a career she wouldn’t trade for anything.
“I’m really proud to be a truck driver, even though it’s probably the hardest thing I’ve done in my life,” Bramer said. “It’s not a 9 to 5 job, and it’s not for everybody. I didn’t do it because I knew I was breaking the mold, I did it because it’s my job and I do it really well.”